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WWE’s next television deal could cut Monday Night Raw down by an hour

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Some changes could be coming to WWE Monday Night Raw.

Raw moved from the USA Network to The Nashville Network in September 2000, which was rebranded to Spike TV in August 2003. Then on October 3, 2005, Raw returned to the USA Network, where it remains today.

All episodes of the show are now available on demand on the WWE Network.

If you recall, after the 1000th episode on July 23, 2012, Raw became a three-hour broadcast from two hours, a format that had previously been reserved for special episodes. This decision has been something that fans dislike due to the show being too long.

Back in 2009, it was reported that USA had regularly asked for three-hour episodes of Raw to boost TV ratings to help the cable channel in quarterly races against the likes of TNT, TBS, and ESPN.

Dave Meltzer reported in the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE’s next TV deal could be with FOX. The reason for the potential move would be due to UFC possibly leaving FOX as the UFC and WWE’s TV deals expire around the same time.

Meltzer would go onto note on Wrestling Observer Radio that if WWE signed with FOX then Monday Night Raw would go to FOX while SmackDown Live would go to FOX Sports 1. If this happened then Raw may have to go back to two hours and they wouldn’t have an overrun due to local news.

A large majority of FS1’s content is the UFC and by signing the WWE, the sports entertainment company could provide them with a ton of content that they need without the UFC.

McMahon has said before that he thinks the ideal length of a weekly wrestling show should be ninety minutes. Thus, Vince is willing to go back to two hours.

Former WWE creative writer Kevin Eck recently joined The Wade Keller Podcast for a wide-ranging conversation about his time with the company. During the interview, he revealed how McMahon developed the strategy of moving the main event from the end of the show due to the third hour pulling such bad ratings. Here is what he had to say (transcript courtesy of Wrestling Inc):

"What's happened recently is that I think---when you look at the ratings, you always see consistently the third hour drifts off, and you see a higher rating during the second hour, so I think we're seeing a shift to where on Raw a lot of times, what is considered the 'Main Event' is taking place at the end of the 9 o'clock hour and is drifting towards the 10 o'clock hour," Eck explained.

"There is some prestige to appear at the end of the show, but I don't think it's the same to when I worked there, or with SmackDown, since it's a 2 hour show. Vince [McMahon] has seen the ratings trend that people aren't sticking around, no matter what they put at segment 15 and 16 in the long stretch just wasn't doing so well, so why are you going to put your most important segment in the hour to where people are tuning out?"

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